Theater chain implementing closed captioning and narration


Celebration! Cinema operates 12 locations in Michigan. Photo via

A local theater chain is planning to implement closed captioning and narration capabilities at all of its locations.

Grand Rapids-based Celebration! Cinema said this month it plans to add closed-captioning devices and "descriptive audio" headsets across the chain by the middle of October.

“We remain committed to continuing to improve services for all of our guests,” said Steve VanWagoner, VP of marketing and public relations, Celebration! Cinema.


The closed captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers will be delivered via small screens that attach to seat cup holders with an adjustable arm. The screens display a movie’s dialogue in text. The company also said the devices could be used for translation and non-English captioning in the future.

Descriptive audio, or narrations, for blind and visually impaired customers will be delivered through headsets, which will help customers follow a movie’s actions, settings and scene changes.

“This technology is life changing,” said Joe Sibley, past president, Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired. “Those who could not enjoy or only partially enjoy going to the movies can now fully experience the presentation along with their family and friends.”


Sibley said Celebration! Cinema was the first company in Michigan to offer these types of upgrades in a limited way a decade ago. 

Celebration! Cinema North and Studio C! locations have already been upgraded.

The implementations will also be completed at the chain's other locations: Celebration! Cinema South, RiverTown Crossings, Woodland Mall, Benton Harbor, Lansing, Mount Pleasant, Portage and Cinema Carousel and Plaza 1 & 2 in Muskegon.

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